|KIT:||Airfix 1/72 Super MystererM|
|PRICE:||$ Currently (2004) OOP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
After the war, the French aviation industry managed to get off to a pretty good start, much of it thanks to not having their factories bombed into rubble by the Allies as happened with the Germans. This was as much a political move than one to keep from killing French civilians who worked in the plants. The result is that the French managed to pretty well get up to speed in regards to aircraft manufacturing. Turbo jet technology was quickly forthcoming from the British as well as information passed along from results of utilizing German research data.
Dassault had already built a well liked and relatively capable Ouragan straight winged jet that was used successfully by Israel in the 1956 war. This was followed by the Mystere which was basically a refined and swept wing Ouragan. What was really needed was something a bit more potent and that aircraft was the Super Mystere. This aircraft was the first non-US/Russian production aircraft to attain supersonic speeds in level flight, this happening in 1955. So the French joined the supersonic club. The Super Mystere B.2 was the production aircraft and could perform both interception and ground attack duties with equal skill. It was very much still a day fighter as it wasn't well equipped electronically for all-weather operation.
Of the 180 aircraft produced, 156 went to the French Air Force where they remained in service until the early 1970s. The other 24 went to Israel who used them with great effectiveness in the 1967 war. In French service they were in natural metal and later an aluminum lacquer, finally being painted in a pseudo-SEA scheme at the end of their service lives. The most gaudy aircraft was one painted yellow and black tiger stripes for a Tiger Meet. A few ex-Israeli planes were sold to Honduras who used them very little.
This Airfix kit comes from their heady days of the late 1960s and early 1970s when there were a lot of new kits being produced by the majors. Sometimes several new ones a month! This one is post-rivets and has very nicely done raised panel line detailing. I have to say that some modelers will turn up their noses at raised panel line models and that is silly as raised lines are just as non-prototypical as engraved ones are.
However, there is a definite lack of detail as we now come to expect. I bought this one on the 'used' kit market so the cockpit 'tub' had already been glued together. Add to it a generic bang seat, a pilot and instrument panel and you have the standard kit of the day. The wheel wells are boxed in but there is no detail. Options include raised or lowered landing gear (you must realize that many of these kits came with display stands), open or closed speed brakes and that is about it. My kit is missing one of the gear doors and it may also have other bits gone as most of the parts were off the sprues.
Instructions provide a good building sequence with nicely drawn diagrams. Color info is saved for the decal and marking section where it gives both interior and exterior color data. Paint info is in Humbrol numbers and generic names. There are markings for four aircraft; two French and two Israeli. For the French, there is the box art plane from EC 10 in bare metal with the tricolor rudder and bold fuselage flash. There is also an EC 12 scheme in the pseudo-SEA camo scheme it wore in its last years. For the Israelis there is the bare metal delivery scheme and the three color desert scheme. This later scheme is the one used prior to adding the Skyhawk engines to them. Though the decals are old, they are well printed and may still be usable.
Despite the age of this kit, it is still the only one in this scale that you'll be able to easily find. It builds into a very nice model and with the addition of some work, can be tricked out very nicely.
Kit courtesy of the 'cheap kit' bin.
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